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British Liver Trust
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Hepatitis A - Spread from Surfaces

Hello Everybody,

I'm new here and I think I will only have one question, so please bear with me! don't actually have any liver disease that I know of. I did have Hep A when I was a child so I understand that I have immunity for life to that particular strain. Nevertheless, what I DO have is OCD and I tend to feel very anxious about health issues and particularly about unknowingly spreading infection to others.

I used a public toilet yesterday and as I "hover" over the seat when I do that, there was a bit of spill which I wiped clean with some toilet paper before I left. I then washed my hands. But after several minutes out of the toilet I began worrying that I might not have washed my hands for long enough, so I went back in and washed them again.

Of course in the meantime I had touched my bag and some items inside my bag.

Now, OCD makes you question everything. So now when I look back I can't even be sure I did wash my hands the first time round (though I only went back to re-wash them because I felt maybe I hadn't taken long enough the first time).

My question is this: assuming I DID actually get some Hep A on my hands, and did contaminate my belongings with it, is it possible for me to then infect somebody else, like my boyfriend, by further spreading the virus from my belongings and onto other surfaces the he might touch? Is there any way I could clean my belongings - I know the Hep A virus is pretty hardy? Or should I just relax and forget all about it?

Please don't laugh at me, I tried researching this on the net but there is not a lot of information on my particular issue... I will be truly grateful for any factual information and advice.

7 Replies

Are you concerned about spreading Hep A to others because you had it as a child? Once you recover from Hep A infection, you are no longer contagious and you no longer carry the virus.


thanks for answering but no, that's not it! I am worried that I might have gotten some Hep A on my hands last night (it wouldn't hurt me, I know) and then touched some of my belongings, where it now stays... and I might spread it further from there to other surfaces and thus indirectly infect someone else. I am not even sure that's an option - I hope it isn't! but that's what scares me...

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Handwashing stops the spread of Hep A. You can also clean surfaces with diluted bleach. I hope that helps?

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I did wash my hands, but not for long enough I'm afraid... or maybe just freaking out. and it's really difficult to clean things like purses and small personal items with diluted bleach... I just hope all this anxiety is unjustified!

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I think you are perhaps panicking unnecessarily - if Hep A were so easily spread then most of us would be contaminated due to life's everyday contacts from door handles, stair rails, coinage etc. etc. There are lots of folks out there who don't take their hygiene as seriously as they should and it isn't uncommon to see folks leaving bathrooms without handwashing at all.

I do think you'll be safe enough with the steps you've already taken.

Here is what the NHS says about Hep A :- nhs.uk/Conditions/Hepatitis...

I am sure you and your loved ones are absolutely fine.

All the best

Katie x


Thank you! I keep telling myself we would all have it if it spread THAT easily! Even so, and even knowing that antibacterial wipes won't help too much, I have tried to clean my handbag, purse, and all the small personal items I carry around... there is nothing more I can do!

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Well thanks for the post because I now know a lot more about hep a down to our usual well informed contributors. Think you should be fine btw

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